Job applications "should be anonymous"

The Local
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An official report handed over to the Swedish government on Wednesday has recommended the use of anonymous job applications in the public sector. The measure would minimise the risk of discrimination against immigrants, said the authors.


The head of the inquiry, Tanja Linderborg, said she believes that Sweden could set an example by making such a change. While her remit only covered the public sector, she also said that the private sector should also introduce anonymous applications procedures.

The report proposed anonymity up until the interview stage, allowing qualifications, education and experience to play a more significant role in the selection procedure. From the interview onwards, the process would continue as usual.

Tanja Linderborg admitted that there is no guarantee that applicants with a foreign background would not simply rejected at the interview stage instead.

"This doesn't solve everything," she said. "Other measures are also needed."

Minister for Local Government Sven-Erik Österberg said that it is obvious that something must be done to increase the number of public sector employees with foreign backgrounds.

He believes that the method of anonymous job applications could be one way to improve the situation.

"I'm not opposed to picking a number of local authorities to start with this, but I don't think that will be necessary. I believe that the authorities are going to accept it anyway," said Österberg.

He said he believes private companies would also benefit from using anonymous applications procedures.

Trials are expected to start in the autumn.

One condition for the method is that employers must establish a clear profile of the formal qualifications which are required for the job. This would then be transferred to an application form which only handles these qualifications.

The form will be designed so that the information entered does not reveal the applicant's identity or ethnicity.

According to Tanja Linderborg, the approach has hardly been used at all in the past. For that reason, she emphasised, the results of tests must be followed up thoroughly.

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